Mariners keeper Matt Ryan was Man of the Match against the Wanderers. Source: News Limited/foxsports.com.au
Two of last season’s best sides, the Central Coast Mariners and Perth Glory , meet at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday afternoon, in what promises to be an intriguing encounter. Although they finished the home and away fixtures on top of the table last season, the Mariners could manage only a draw against competition new boys Western Sydney last weekend, with the match ending 0-0 . Goalkeeper Matt Ryan began the new campaign in the same sort of form that he finished the last, collecting the Man of the Match award with a strong showing between the sticks. Striker Adam Kwasnik should return after missing out last week through illness, while loan signing Ryo Nagai could make his A-League debut for the club after recovering from a hamstring strain. Former Glory star Mile Sterjovski will line up against his former teammates for the first time since moving to the East coast during the off season.
Perth gained revenge for last season’s Grand Final defeat to Brisbane Roar by beating the defending champions 1-0 on the opening weekend and will be looking for a second straight win against another of the competition favourites. Billy Mehmet was the match winning substitute against Brisbane last week and is likely to be rewarded with a place in the starting side while Shane Smeltz is away on international duty with New Zealand.
These sides met in the preliminary final here last season, with Perth shocking their hosts by winning on penalties after the scores were locked at 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes. Overall, the West Australian based side has a poor record against Central Coast, having never beaten won at Bluetongue Stadium. They have won only three of the 22 meetings between the pair at all venues since the A-League inception in 2005.
Melbourne Heart and Wellington Phoenix meet in the first game of Sunday’s double header with both sides having collected three points on the opening weekend. Heart won the Melbourne derby 2-1 while Wellington ruined Alessandro Del Piero’s welcoming party with a 2-0 against Sydney FC in New Zealand.
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